“Finally the Rock has come back”. These were the words of Dwayne Johnson or to be more precise “The Rock”, a few weeks ago in WWE’s Raw edition. What has it got to do in an automobile portal would be the question that many would be asking. The answer is nothing actually but everything if you take it in the right sense. Volvo has returned to India with a bang and the bang resonates with Volvo S60 in India. A few days back, I remember keeping you folks updated about the Volvo S60 in India launch and also a preview of the same car some 3-4 months back. What I have managed now is a coup de stat and that is getting the Volvo S60 for a test drive. How I managed that is another big question. It is more like eat the fruits and why worry about the seed. Only last night I happened to check out a movie on Star Movies and it had the older iteration of the Volvo S60. The difference between the two, in terms of looks is very much however without even looking at the badge, I could take a guess that it had to be a Volvo. So here is the Volvo S60 in India test drive report. Reviews are far and few to come by since this car is a new entry into India and would then be passed onto several other automobile magazines and portals.
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Starting with the looks, Volvo has been widely criticized for making boring looking cars however with the advent of the XC60, it has changed and some of those factors have been also bored down to the S60. The S60 will definitely manage to turn heads in its segment which is dominated by the three pointed star, the goatee grille and the twin kidney grille. The car gets an overall coupe stance which is now been brought into light for the new 2011 Mercedes C class. Its wrap around beak like head lamps along with the stash like daytime running LED lamps at the sides cut a distinct figure amongst the horde of Germans running around. The sleek, stylish grille gets the usual Volvo’s diagonal strip of a logo. The new car doesn’t have provisions for fog lamps but as of such has individual slots for the air dams outlined by chrome. The bonnet is also a swooping figure for pedestrian safety rules. The 17 inch multi spoke alloy wheels fill the wheel arches well and the side profile also shows the coupe like silhouette. The outside rear view mirrors may seem a bit small however once on the inside, they seem quite a handful. They have the turn indicators embedded in them as well. The rear is somewhat reminiscent of the old Volvos with that sickle like design of that LED tail lamps along with spelled out Volvo logo. There is a black rear bumper cladding and this houses the twin tail pipes.
The interiors is where the Volvo S60 in India gets some cues from both the Japanese as well as the Germans. The latter for the solid build quality whereas the interior materials comes from the former. The materials used wouldn’t shame an Audi either but then the use of beige and gray somewhat assures that this cabin is a good place to be in. The 3 spoked steering wheel has a number of buttons on it which are nicely spaced and moreover the leather stitching on its makes it very grippy to hold. The white faced dials are easy and legible to read and more or less reminds one of the Mercedes dials. The steering wheel boasts of having cruise control, audio controls as also Bluetooth functions. The waterfall central console as Volvo would like to call it gets its share of a small touch screen readout which shows the climate control details, music system display as also the parking sensors. There are too many buttons to deal with however it isn’t a problem given the fact that I could master them within half an hour of sitting inside the car. The glove box boasts of incredible space to stow away the nitty gritties. The front seats have a relaxed position and one which have every size fits in proportions. The rear seats in the meanwhile, though not as big as the Audi A4, definitely have more space than the BMW 3 series. Comfortable for 5? You bet it is. Boot space is at par with rivals, if not a bit more. The climate control works perfectly fine with its sublime on touch operation.
Now for the asli part of the journey and that is driving the car. Firing up the engine showed that there is not too much of engine noise and infact it was only when I revved the engine hard enough did I get to actually make it sound audible but then it was also more like a cat purring. Impressive enough. First the ride quality. It is awesome to say the least. Even for the short test ride that I had, I could sense that this suspension would make mince meat out of the Indian roads rather than the other way round. It is perfectly tuned for the Indian roads and neither was it too soft or overtly hard. The Volvo S60 in India comes with the C-chassis system from Volvo Motors which boasts of having the Comfort, Sport or Advanced modes for chassis configuration. Only in the Advanced mode would you be mildly jolted out of your reverie. The steering wheel, along with being nice to grip is also very responsive unit. Though no point and shoot object, it still manages to get the job done without having the heavy feeling of the BMW 3 series steering at low speeds. The all wheel drive system is the latest one from Haldex and just makes the S60 hold its line even under hard driving. I forgot to mention that the S60 is the only other vehicle in its class which gets AWD other than the Audi A4 4.2 FSI. BMW is very happy with its rear wheel drive configuration.
Volvo S60 Photo Gallery
The variant that I had on test here was the petrol variant as the diesel variant has been done to death on many other Volvo cars. The Volvo S60 in India petrol engine is called T6 and it is a twin turbo unit. The 304 Bhp of peak power and the torque of 44.6 kgm make this car a real scorcher. Couple that with the 6 speed auto transmission and you have a BMW beater there. The gear box is utter responsive and I am sure that this engine will have the BMW 330i creamed whereas the Audi 4.2 FSI would also be gasping for breath behind it. Featuring a twin turbo does eliminate some turbo lag which is typical of turbocharged engines but then the keen driver would notice some turbo lag at city speeds. The gear box ratios however eliminate most of the turbo lag and the car is quite driveable in city as well.I don’t have the 0-100 kmph figures but expect it to shave off more than 5 seconds than what the BMW 330i can manage. The auto box is also highly responsive however wish that it had paddle shifters behind the wheel. While taking a corner at high speed, if you need to change the gears then it is a bit laborious and risky to be taking your hand off the steering wheel for a moment and changing gears.
Brake feel didn’t leave anything to be desired and the fade free nature of the brakes even after repeated high speed stops make them the best in their class. There is ABS, EBD and many other electronics working overtime to ensure that things don’t get out of hand. There is a long list of safety features, both standard and optional. There is the City Safety package, 6 air bags, lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control system and also active braking. There are many more safety features and this car be judged as one of the safest cars in its category and one above. As far as fuel efficiency goes, Volvo cars aren’t known to be too fuel efficient and moreover with this short test drive, I couldn’t calculate the fuel efficiency either.
Summing it up all, the Volvo S60 in India is a worthy alternative to the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and the Mercedes C class. It has got the right mix of both performance and also handling. Ride quality is superlative to the Germans as well. Interiors are in a different league and ensure that the car wouldn’t be mistaken for a German one. There are two engine options on offer, one diesel and the other petrol. If there was something which Volvo could have improved, it is the putting paddle shifts behind the steering wheel plus giving a different name for the different variants. Like Summum seems too radical and is sure to evict bad responses similar to the name Laura in North India. There are a total of 3 trim levels for the Volvo S60 here and those are the Volvo S60 T6 Summum, S60 D5 Summum and the S60 D5 Kinetic. The Volvo S60 price in India starts from Rs 27 lakhs for the diesel variants and for the one that I tested here, the Volvo S60 T6 Summum, the price is Rs 34 lakhs.